POWERHOUSE GLOBAL MAGAZINE (PGMAG) INTERVIEW WITH:
DIEGO F. MAYA (DFM)
Diego F. Maya is the Founder of US Latino Affairs Initiatives. He is a social entrepreneur who has worked tirelessly for the past 20 years to create information platforms for the Spanish community.
“Diego F. Maya is the Founder of US Latino Affairs Initiatives. He is a social entrepreneur who has worked tirelessly for the past 20 years to create information platforms for the Spanish community.”
PGMAG: Diego, it’s such an honour to have you on today’s interview.
DFM: Thank you. It is a pleasure to share with you our work for humanity in the East Coast of the United States.
PGMAG: AS a leader, what inspired you to set up the United States Latino Affairs Initiatives?
DFM: Born in Colombia South America I was given the opportunity to live in the United States. I am thankful and feel obliged to give back to a place that has permitted me to grow despite the adversities. I look back at this country’s founders and the heroes of this great nation who sacrificed their lives for the freedom my family enjoys so that I could communicate these thoughts freely and comfortably. I feel I owe it to them. I owe it to all the immigrants who left everything in their place of origin to create a better life somewhere else, with a brighter future. It is with that gratefulness that I was inspired to create media platforms that construct paths of collaboration, education and progress. I believe that all the cultures in our country can truly learn from one another to create a better world.
PGMAG: There is a wise saying that; out of pain comes purpose. Your story of arriving in the US without your parents at the tender age of nine shows me a man who has worked hard to get to where he is now. Please tell us a little bit about your journey and how it inspired you to become a global leader.
DFM: When I share the early part of my life people feel it as a series of painful experiences until I conclude with what I do today. I went to 12 different schools before finishing high school. Raised by a single mother with her siblings, I was exposed to colombian urban life while also sharing 2nd grade with indigenous children, kids from farming and landowner families. At 10 my mother sent me to live in the United States. From twelve years old I moved out and lived with families of different nationalities residing in the United States: Panamanian, Mexican, Salvadorean, Guatemalan, Puerto Rican, Dominican and even American. In total I set foot in 12 different schools, including one in Germany prior to graduating high school. At 17 I arrived in Princeton, New Jersey the home of Albert Einstein. In 12th grade I wondered what it would be to have a vacation in Tokyo or in Paris as many of my peers would often visit and discuss. I played competitive soccer in New York with an Ecuadorian team, in New Jersey I also played in Jamaican, Nigerian and Hatian teams.
Today, upon reflection I can say I’ve lived the longest best vacation ever, a roller coaster of joys including hardships while experiencing cultures and life to become the man who I am today. I married a Slovakian woman, visited her country along with Austria and we have a son born in the United States along with two daughters born in Colombia.
Putting all these experiences together allowed me to genuinely be inspired to work with the Latino community in the east coast of the country.
“When facing a challenge I figure out with my mentor’s input what is at stake, then I go back and re-analyze until I feel it is right to take the next step.”
PGMAG: What is your message for those who are struggling to find their voice in a challenged environment?
DFM: I would encourage people struggling to stop and take a breather as I have. When facing a challenge I figure out with my mentor’s input what is at stake, then I go back and re-analyze until I feel it is right to take the next step. The difficulties in my life have made me stronger, wiser and a better decision maker providing the circumstances along the way to meet human gems who bring greatness into my life. I took the struggle as my training and part of the process.
PGMAG: You did mention the ‘UN’s 17 Goals Of Sustainable Development Agenda’ in your bio. In your capacity as a leader, what are the measures needed to put in place in order to involve your community (Latinos) in the on-going process?
DFM: Our Latino community is not aware that most of our families in one way or another live the SDGs. The state of New Jersey houses two million Latinos, just yesterday for the first time I stopped at a juicing shop in a city where the population is 90% hispanic. A lady who was the owner tended the shop, she didn’t speak English, but she knew very well the health benefits of juicing and she understood that large amounts of meat consumption is harmful to our bodies and the climate. Right there she was giving me a lesson on SDG 12, Reduced consumption and production, SDG 13 Climate change.
I believe it is necessary to bring reliable information to the people so as to connect diverse communities and provide them engaging educational content. This creates value for government leaders and a bridge to reach population pockets in Mercer, Passaic, Hudson, Union, Essex, Middlesex, Camden, Atlantic, Bergen counties which together have more than a million Spanish speaking residents. Our world is a better place with people understanding what are the SDGs, it is my duty to raise awareness and contextualize global affairs within our diverse communities in New Jersey. I do this by enabling communication and dialogue lines in the Spanish language with creativity and with platforms such as The Latino Index.
PGMAG: The recent US Presidential election revealed the immersed contribution of Latinos in your country. As an influencer in your community, what could be done in order to include more Latinos in decision making in the political arena?
DFM: We (Latinos) are fortunate to take part of this beautiful country we call home. Its founding fathers developed a constitution and a government that with leadership has maintained the country as a protagonist in global affairs. My assertion is that we Latinos craft our paths and that through hard work and consistency in all industry sectors we will eventually have our chance. It happened to all immigrants who arrived decades ago and without a doubt I believe it will happen for us too.
PGMAG: Please share some insights on the ‘Latino Index’.
DFM: The Latino Index is a digital information resource in Spanish. Think of live video, animation, hard searchable content and graphics all packaged nicely into a hub that is easily distributed via link to Whatsapp, text message, messenger and easily accessible via mobile devices, pcs and laptops. It is the most important communications platform for an area covering 9 million latinos, it is the bridge for state, county, and municipal governments to inform latinos on state level legislation, health, education, human and social services, public safety, transportation, economic opportunity, finance as well as job training, employment and business development. The latino index is extremely relevant for today’s latino in need of social and economic empowerment who could very well live and be in the publication’s coverage area or be an international spanish speaking investor, or perhaps a visitor traveling to our region.
PGMAG: What is your message for aspiring leaders?
DFM: I believe all of us have what it takes to be leaders. For me it was a matter of digging deep within and coming to grips with my life experiences, the ups and the downs. With help from mentors, I realized that I have what it takes and
that seeking people to open doors that could remain closed is not bad after all. At those crucial points, when one thinks it is over I got up the next morning with faith and continued consistently working on my craft ‘til today where my work reaches 100k people on the average on a weekly basis.
PGMAG: What are the top three books that changed your life?
DFM: Cien Años de Soledad (100 years of solitude), El Coronel No Tiene Quien le Escriba (No One Writes To The Colonel) both by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – after living so many years in the United States they placed me back to my childhood where I was born igniting my thirst to travel and relive those experiences. The Alchemist also is a top book in my list.
PGMAG: If you knew what you know now, what would you do differently?
DFM: I would not worry so much about the difficulties we face. Recently, I read in The New York Times about the psychological effects of altruism on the brain. I used to spend so much time worrying, creating undue stress within and then things worked out anyway. So during the global pandemia I chartered into contributing my knowledge and skills to alleviate financial hardships to those affected by the pandemia and those recently suffering from the natural disaster in Central America. These efforts have collectively and positively occupied my time without lengthy spaces of time to think about my hardships.
PGMAG: And finally, what would you say to your younger self?
DFM: I would tell Diego, don’t look back, don’t waste time trying to comprehend unfavorable results while there is so much to do. That’s what I would tell Diego. Fly high Diego, Fly as the biggest flying bird in the world, The Condor.
PGMAG: Thank you once again for your time.
DFM: It is an honor to be able to humbly share my thoughts, hoping that they help someone in whichever part of their journey they may find themselves.
PGMAG: Please share your links with our readers.
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